Colin McFarlane

Lead Co-Investigator WP2, and Lead on Extreme Poverty

Comparative Inquiry for Urban Equality  

Dept. of Geography, Durham University

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I am leading the investigation on Extreme Poverty as part of KNOW Work Package 2, Comparative Inquiry for Urban Equality.


I am an urban geographer whose work focuses on the experience and politics of informal neighbourhoods. This has involved research into the relations between informality, infrastructure, and knowledge in urban India and elsewhere. A key part of this has been a focus on the experience and politics of sanitation in informal settlements in Mumbai, which was part of an Economic and Social Research Council ethnographic project on the everyday cultures and contested politics of sanitation and water in two informal settlements. My current work examines the politicisation of informal neighbourhoods from a comparative perspective, including African and South Asian cities.


In 2013, I was awarded the Leverhulme Prize for my research in urban geography. In 2010 I was awarded the Gill Memorial Award from the Royal Geographical Society for contributions to urban geography. I have authored 'Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage' (Blackwell), a book which focussed on the intersections between urban inequality, materiality, resistance and learning, as well as related edited collections, including: 'Infrastructural Lives: Urban Infrastructure in Context' (Earthscan-Routledge, with Steve Graham), 'Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia' (Routledge, with Jonathan Anjaria), and 'Urban Informalities: Reflections on the Formal and Informal' (Ashgate, with Michael Waibel).

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